Natalia Goncharova (1881-1962) was the leading female artist of the Russian avant-garde and a key figure of the modernist era. She embraced with a complete openness a wide range of artistic styles, traditions and media. From sculpture and painting, printmaking and book illustration, to fashion and innovative cinema, she applied the spirit of `everythingness' (Toutisme) to her creative practice.
After gaining fame for her early experiments with abstraction, she earned further international renown for her work for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes following her emigration to Paris in 1914. This publication will consider the entire spectrum of Goncharova's creative practice. An important focus will be her 1913 exhibition in Moscow at which she displayed over 350 paintings along with the numerous drawings, studies, prints and designs, demonstrating her prolific and prodigious talent. It will also address how Goncharova was unafraid to explore subjects in her art that were considered taboo for a gentile woman of pre-war Europe, such as the female nude, paganism and marginalised cultures. The artist caused controversy with her biblical scenes, which were rendered in intense and earthly manner that reflected her personal experiences in the period leading to the outbreak of the First World War. Her involvement in performative practices of the futurist movement in Russia went along with her own ground-breaking experiments with non-figurative forms. It was her work that largely contributed to elevating theatre design and costume-making into an art form. Essays by leading experts and lavish illustrations will bring to a new audience the diverse work of this modernist artist whose oeuvre blazed the path of Russian avant-garde painting, ground-breaking European theatre design and modernist graphic design.
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